(December 8, 2011 – New York, NY) Chris Anokute, best known for his A&R work with Katy Perry, Kelly Rowland and others, and his work before that in music publishing (Rihanna’s “Pon de Replay”), has been appointed Senior Vice President, A&R, Island Def Jam Music Group. The announcement was made today by Karen Kwak, Executive Vice President / Head of A&R, Island Def Jam Music Group. Mr. Anokute will report directly to Ms. Kwak.
“Chris is very talented and I’m happy he is joining our A&R team,” said Ms. Kwak. “His track record for discovering fresh and unique talent is impressive and I know we can achieve even greater success together at IDJ.”
“It’s a blessing to be working for the label where it all started for me,” said Mr. Anokute. “I have loads of respect for Karen Kwak, and I’m humbled to have this opportunity to work with her and the team at Island Def Jam. I’d also like to thank Barry Weiss, Steve Bartels, and Peter Thea for their support, as I embark on this new endeavor with the best record company in the world.”
Mr. Anokute was still a teenager in 2001 when he began his career in music with an internship in the A&R Administration Department at Def Jam Recordings. Soon he was managing songwriter Alisha ‘Mjestie’ Brooks, where he brokered a co-publishing deal for her with Grammy Award winning producer Vada Nobles. Their first writing collaboration resulted in “Pon de Replay,” the debut worldwide smash hit by Rihanna.
The song’s success in 2005 led Mr. Anokute to Virgin/EMI Records, whose Chairman & CEO Jason Flom offered him a consultancy that quickly led to Mr. Anokute’s appointment as Senior Director of A&R. His first project was the 2007 hit album, Introducing Joss Stone. He and Mr. Flom then signed Katy Perry, and Mr. Anokute handled A&R for her first two multi-platinum Capitol albums, One of The Boys (2008) and Teenage Dream (2010), which collectively yielded eight #1 singles, and worldwide sales of more than 40 million singles and albums collectively.
In 2011, Mr. Anokute moved to Universal Motown as Senior Vice President, A&R. There he worked closely with Motown President Sylvia Rhone, and handled A&R for Kelly Rowland’s first album for the label, Here I Am, which included the #1 single “Motivation” (featuring Lil’ Wayne). Mr. Anokute most recently served as Senior Vice President, A&R for Universal Republic.